Friday 27 November 2015

Telecity/Equinix appoint Royal Bank of Canada to begin data centre sale

Here's a titbit on Telecity Group's £2.35 billion sale to US data centre giant Equinix.

I understand Equinix and London-listed Telecity have appointed advisers at Royal Bank of Canada to begin the sale of certain data centres in major European financial centres, including London.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Informa said to be sniffing around Top Right Group

FTSE 250-listed Informa, the publisher of Lloyd's List, has been studying a £1 billion takeover of Top Right Group, the publishing, data and events company backed by the Guardian Media Group.

According to well-placed sources, Informa recently expressed an interest in Top Right Group, publisher of several well-known trade magazines such as Retail Week.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Shell/BG Group worries - part 2

I guess merger arb funds don't need to worry after all about the Royal Dutch Shell / BG Group deal falling apart as the The Times business section has this morning revealed the Qataris (who have been selling out of both companies recently) are backing the deal.

In fact, the tale is the splash (UK journo parlance for main story on the front page) and appears to be well sourced. Here is a link to the piece:

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Flag pole alert - part 3

The broker upgrades are coming thick and fast following Bryce Elder's piece on Imperial Tobacco late last week.

Yesterday, Citigroup upgraded Imperial Tobacco to a "buy" and now Exane BNP Paribas and Morgan Stanley have pieces out to clients on the topic. Below I have pasted the gist of the latest Exane note:

Shell/BG Group worries

Risk arbitrageurs (otherwise known as the hedge funds that bet on takeover deals) have been getting increasingly nervous about Shell's £43 billion bid for BG Group following a series of bearish articles on the transaction by my old employer, The Telegraph Media Group, publisher of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph.

I expect those worries to transform into full scale paranoia after The Times decided to follow the Telegraph's lead and publish a news story (re?) quoting Ian McVeigh's opposition to the mega deal.
If you don't recall, McVeigh of Jupiter Fund Management wrote a piece in The Sunday Telegraph a few weeks ago likening the transaction to Royal Bank of Scotland's disastrous acquisition of ABN Amro.

Monday 23 November 2015

Friday 20 November 2015

Squeaky bum time for Pathfinder Minerals - part 2

I'm presuming bums are getting particularly squeaky round at Pathfinder Minerals, the controversial mining company focused on Mozambique.

Readers might recall I did a piece in the summer about how auditors for Pathfinder Minerals had raised "going concern" issues at the company, which as far as I can see is now just a cash shell fighting over mining rights in Mozambique. Here is a link:

Thursday 19 November 2015

Hedgies get hot under the collar over Dialog deal - part 2

So, Arrowgrass appears to have got one over rival Elliott Advisers - it's just been announced that Dialog Semiconductor's purchase of Atmel has been approved.

Here is a link to the a Reuters piece on the news, which has just broken:

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners said to have hired bankers to sell International Energy Group

Apologies for the delayed posting Betavillers - I've got a bit of sore head as I was out hobnobbing with the great and the good of the British business world last night at a brilliant party.

Anyway, I'm sure you can read about that over the weekend. Back in the real world (or perhaps I should say Betaville world) I can "exclusively reveal" that I stumbled across this rather interesting little jackanory a few days ago.

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Hedgies get hot under the collar over Dialog deal

It sounds like there is an almighty dusty up brewing between some of Britain and America's top hedge funds.

The potential row is over Dialog Semiconductor's takeover of US rival Atmel for $4.6 billion.

Monday 16 November 2015

RARE ALERT: Fagron said to have drawn interest from Cinven et al

I've been in two minds about writing on the Fagron auction. That's because there have been a lot of unsubstantiated (and possibly false) rumours going around the European markets in the last couple of weeks and as a result the stock has been volatile.

For readers unfamiliar with Fagron, it's a listed Belgian company that provides ingredients for pharmacies and hospitals. The business said last month that it had hired JP Morgan to carry out a strategic review after receiving several takeover approaches.

Back on Tip TV talking about IHS, BG Group and Fagron

It's a Monday, so here is a link to today's session on Tip TV:

Sunday review on a Monday

There were a couple of stories that caught my eye in yesterday's Sunday newspaper business sections.

Oliver Shah's Prufrock item in The Sunday Times on Guy Hands's global restaurant preferences drew a wry smile, particularly as the financier's taste in eateries didn't appear to be particularly good.

Thursday 12 November 2015

Revealed: Argus Media Group appoints bankers to carry out sale of up to £1 billion - part 3

It was only yesterday that I broke the story about Argus Media Group but already the names of serious buyers of the energy data business are coming out of the woodwork.

Indeed, I understand several private equity firms have a strong interest in Argus Media Group, such as Hellman & Friedman, which has an established track record in the sector having previously invested in Wood Mackenzie, the commodities research and publishing group.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Revealed: Argus Media Group appoints bankers to carry out sale of up to £1 billion - part 2

It's always great when a scoop is formally confirmed by the company involved. Here is a statement that has just been released by Argus Media Group following my piece from earlier today:

Argus Media statement
11 November 2015
Argus Media today confirmed that it has appointed financial advisers to review strategic options for the next phase of its development as a leading provider of pricing information to global commodity markets.

Revealed: Argus Media Group appoints bankers to carry out sale of up to £1 billion

Argus Media Group, the publishing company that sets world energy prices, could be about to change hands for up to £1 billion.

According to well-placed sources, Argus Media Group has begun working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch on a strategic review and contacted some of the City's top private equity firms to gauge their interest in the company.

Krafty 3G / Coincidence - part 3

Finally, SAB Miller announces a £70 billion plus recommended offer from Anheuser-Busch Inbev and confirms what I have been banging on about since the beginning of the year: that 2015 is the year ABI and 3G plan to bid for the FTSE 100 beer company. And in case you don't recall, here are links to some of my "exclusive" articles on the topic:

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Dubens's firm Oakley hungry for Ed's Easy Diner

Hip, high-end burgers - think Honest Burger, Dirty Burger and, possibly even, Byron Burger - are all the rage with British trendy, metropolitan types but it seems like the City's private equity firms are more interested in tired, old burger chain brands.

Indeed, I hear Oakley Capital, the private equity firm set up by entrepreneur Peter Dubens, has been participating in the £100 million auction for Ed's Easy Diner, which I used to visit in my teens.

Friday 6 November 2015

Introducing Europe's "best" activist investor

Fortune magazine recently declared it Europe's "best" activist investor. That's Cevian Capital, the investment firm in which Lord Myners, the former Labour City minister, is a partner. Here is a link the Fortune magazine article:

It's M&A Friday!

Hat tip to Russell Lynch over The Evening Standard who just delivered a brilliant scoop about ICAP and Tullett Prebon holding merger talks of their broking businesses. Here are links to Russell's story and also the confirmation:

Wednesday 4 November 2015


Here is a random thought for the day.

Whilst ruminating on the fact that SAB Miller and Anheuser-Busch Inbev asked for a second extension to the Takeover Panel's put-up or shut up deadline, I started to wonder: what was that Veja story in June about 3G weighing a multibillion takeover bid for Diageo all about?

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Tuesday review - part 2

I should have mentioned this piece from the Financial Times - - in my earlier post.

It's bit of "old" news (the fact that Pfizer approached GlaxoSmithKline before Allergan) that hadn't made into the public domain. But as it has been shown here on little old Betaville, "old" news can often become "new" news, so in the right circumstances is definitely worth reporting. Hat tip, then, to the raft of FT hacks who discovered the "old" news.

Tuesday review

I thought I would do a little newspaper review on a Tuesday as there were plenty of brilliant stories knocking about in the British business sections today.

First of, I would just like to congratulate my old mate Graham "Ruddy" Ruddick - a former colleague from my time at The Daily Telegraph and one of the nicest chaps in financial journalism - for landing a story about healthcare group Four Seasons of the front page of the main book, yes the main book, of The Guardian. Here is a link to Graham's piece:

Monday 2 November 2015

Back on Tip TV talking about Marks & Spencer, British American Tobacco and Dyax

Here is a link to today's Tip TV clip with the mixmaster Moose (AKA Nick Batsford).

Dyax takeover rumour confirmed!

I take a lot of stick from readers, rival hacks and viewers of Tip TV when I talk about some of the more speculative bid stories towards the end of my segment.

However, it does seem worthwhile for viewers of the programme, especially when the the tale gets confirmed. For example, today FTSE 100-listed Shire said it is buying Dyax Corporation for almost $6 billion.

Flag pole alert - part 2

I guess it was worth raising the flag pole over the latest British American Tobacco for Imperial Tobacco rumour given the recent UK press coverage.

And I have been given some extra colour (attached with a RARE disclaimer) on the situation.

Sunday 1 November 2015

Buying Britain

There weren't too many deal scoops in the Sunday newspapers this weekend. But that's the way it goes in UK M&A journalism; sometimes reporters get a flurry of mega exclusives and then things dry up for a while.

Still, there was one piece that caught my eye: Oliver Shah's interview with Yuan Yafei, the new (ish) proprietor of House of Fraser. That's because it's not often a Chinese business heavyweight goes on the record with a UK newspaper - and he comes across as a somewhat colourful, hard-working but eccentric character in the well-written piece. Here is a link to Oliver's article: